UN climate rapporteur urged to probe reclamation projects

Bella Cariaso – The Philippine Star

November 13, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) has presented to the United Nations human rights expert on climate change, issues affecting fisherfolk, including reclamation projects and other destructive projects in coastal communities, damage compensation, and exclusive rights of marginalized fishers to fishing grounds and territorial waters.

UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change, Ian Fry, will be in the Philippines until Nov. 15 to look into the impacts of the climate crisis.

Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap said that among the recommendations submitted to Fry was the prohibition of any form of destructive activities in coastal areas, including reclamation projects.

“Around 100 reclamation projects covering more than 30,000 hectares of fishing waters are recorded across the archipelago. Manila Bay accounts for 16 percent of the projects, while 19 projects are recorded in Negros Island, 15 in Panay Island, 19 in Cebu and Bohol, and 25 in Eastern Visayas,” Pamalakaya said.

Pamalakaya added that they also moved for the exclusive rights and access of small, municipal and subsistence fisherfolk to the 15-kilometer municipal waters, and demand loss and damage compensation from big local and foreign corporations responsible over massive destruction of the marine environment and degradation of resources.

“This should come in the form of regular and sufficient subsidies to fisherfolk who continue to bear the brunt of the degraded environment and ecosystem, and a long-term rehabilitation and restoration plan,” the fishers’ group said.

Pamalakaya also urged Fry to ensure justice for fisherfolk and advocates who were allegedly victims of human rights violations during the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte.


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